As the coronavirus pandemic continues to worsen, Apple has made the decision to keep all of its retail stores in the United States closed until at least May. In a message obtained by 9to5Mac, Apple Retail + People SVP Deirdre O’Brien reassured store employees that Apple will continue to support them during this difficult time.
After suddenly closing all locations outside of Greater China on March 13, Apple stores were originally scheduled to reopen after March 27. The temporary closings were then made undefined.
In addition to daily monitoring the status of each Apple installation, O’Brien notes that flexible working arrangements will remain in place. Frequent updates from store teams have provided regular advice to reduce uncertainty. This includes the ability to work remotely as an AppleCare At Home Advisor, if an employee wishes.
Read the full note below:
Thank you to all of our teams for staying connected, supporting each other and keeping our Apple family the innovative and compassionate team it has always been – in the good times and the hard times.
First I want to share an update on Apple’s COVID-19 response here in the United States. For the time being, we anticipate that flexible working arrangements will remain in place for all offices and that all retail stores will remain closed until early May. We continue to monitor local conditions at each Apple store daily and will make reopening decisions based on careful and thoughtful reviews and the latest guidelines from local governments and public health experts. As always, you can check the People site for the latest information.
I would also like to thank our COVID-19 response team, which does an incredible job of assessing how COVID-19 affects everyone at Apple and making sure that we take all necessary measures to protect the health and safety of our communities. . The management team meets daily and coordinates closely with the company’s teams, and together we are going through a public health crisis that affects each place and each person differently.
Wherever you are, I want to emphasize that Apple is focused on your support. Whether it’s caring for a sick loved one, caring for a child, or a health issue you are facing – our goal is to make sure everyone has the flexibility, the support and resources needed to stay well, mind and body. We know that many parents balance home schooling and work, and our teams are working on options to ensure parents have the support and flexibility to adjust their schedules as needed. We encourage all of our team members to be open with their managers about the challenges they face, to ask for flexibility if and when they need it – and we want our managers to know that they are empowered to adapt to the specific needs of their members.
In this spirit of caring for ourselves and each other, I want to remind everyone of the Employee Assistance Program. The EAP has so many great resources – including advice, financial coaching and other professional life tools – to guide and support you through difficult times. He is there for you 24/7, and is another reminder of the breadth of resources available to you.
Finally, I know that we send our best wishes to the members of our Apple family who are sick. We are a global community – we are all affected by each other’s suffering. Know that our thoughts are always with you.
Thank you for everything you bring to Apple and for the example of positivity, compassion and teamwork that you set for each other and the world. See you soon.
A memo published last week by O’Brien suggested that some Apple Stores could start reopening in mid-April if local conditions allow. In each case, great care will be taken to ensure the safety of employees and customers. When stores reopen, social distancing policies will likely resemble those tested in China, where all Apple sites have reopened.
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